HomeAdaptive VehiclesPrinter Friendly Version

Adaptive Vehicles

An adaptive vehicle is a car or truck that has been adapted for use by a person with a disability. Automobiles, whether a car or a van, can be adapted for a range of physical disabilities and are successfully used by persons with a spinal cord injury or disease, stroke and amputations. Without an adaptive vehicle, these people would not be able to drive.

1. Adaptive Driving - Where to Begin.

1.1. Adaptive Driving - Where to Begin


The Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) recommends that every person get evaluated for adapted driving and that adaptations and modifications are recommended individually.

A person undergoing driving rehabilitation will actually receive a prescription for vehicle modifications, just as one is prescribed a leg brace by a sports medicine doctor, or oral medication from an internist.

Having a driving assessment is strongly advised for anyone about to begin driving with a disability who:

-Has never driven before or never driven since a disability occurred and/or is ambivalent about his or her physical ability regarding maneuvering a vehicle, seeing, or reacting quickly to other vehicles, and/or
-Whose overall physical ability has changed following an accident or progression of disease or illness.

Drivers Assessments

Sometimes an elderly driver must be re-evaluated following a change in perception or other physical ability such as vision. It's not only a suggestion to have a driving assessment in these cases, but absolutely imperative in order to ensure personal safety for all drivers on the road. Becoming road-ready involves preparing both the driver and vehicle.

A driving rehabilitation program will arm a driver with whatever training is needed, if any, as well as any
prescriptions needed for vehicle modification. This gives a driver confidence that he or she will be
driving safely, and therefore, free to hit the road!

Here is What to Expect from a Driving Assessment:
First, a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist (in a driver rehabilitation program) will make a
clinical evaluation of physical functioning, perform a visual, perceptive and cognitive screening, and
where applicable, conduct a wheelchair and seating assessment. Then, depending on ability, an on-the-road driving evaluation is performed, using adaptive equipment when appropriate. Based on demonstrated driving performance, a prescription for vehicle modification is written, which includes a description of the vehicle  and any mobility aid (wheelchair or scooter) used.

Driver's education will include sufficient practice and training to enable the driver to operate a motor
vehicle with newly prescribed equipment (if any), at a level meeting the need for a driver's license.

Finally a total fitting and operational assessment is performed in the modified vehicle.

Who Performs Driving Assessments?
There are two types of professionals who conduct driver evaluations: CDRS and DRS. The CDRS is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS) with additional training and certification. A DRS typically has a health professional degree (such as occupational therapy) with additional training specific to driver evaluation and rehabilitation. CDRS individuals pass certification exams and are required to complete continuing education to maintain their credentials.


The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists was established in 1977 to support professionals
working in the field of driver education / driver training and transportation equipment modifications for
persons with disabilities through education and information dissemination. ADED, a nonprofit association,
is the primary professional organization in this specialized area, and stands ready to meet the professional needs of its members through educational conferences and research support as well as encouraging equipment development to maximize the transportation options for persons with disabilities.
Drivers Training and Evaluation Services


Adaptive Automotive Equipment Options for People with Spinal Cord Injuries 1/24/18
This webinar highlights a range of topics pertaining to adaptive automotive equipment for personal use and information for allied health care practitioners and other stakeholders in understanding and advocating for individuals seeking automotive vehicle modification solutions. In addition, it educates consumers and caregivers about the unique process involved in evaluating and purchasing appropriate automotive options to fit specific accessibility needs. The webinar will also provide a high-level summary of available products and solutions from the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association's Quality Assurance Program for people with disabilities who want to drive or be transported safely.


ADA Nationwide Roadside Assistance provide emergency roadside services for your wheelchair, scooter and your vehicles with transportation for the whole family. Like Triple A only better.
American Alliance Auto Club


Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System Forum video "On the Road Again: Driving after Spinal Cord Injury" Driving can give a person tremendous independence after SCI. More people with SCI can drive than you might think, but getting back behind the wheel can be a complicated process. In this video you will learn what it takes to return to driving, how to find vehicles that might work for you, and some options for potential funding. Melissa Patopea, OTR/L, talks about the University of Washington's Driving Rehabilitation Program, which evaluates individuals with disabilities for driving potential, determines what vehicle and which types of equipment best suit them, and provides instruction and practice in the use of adaptive driving equipment. Then we hear from several individuals with paraplegia and tetraplegia (quadriplegia) explain how they chose the vehicles they currently drive, discuss their equipment and modifications, and share videos showing them "on the road again." This SCI Forum took place on June 12, 2012 at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Forum Video


Working Cars for Working Families is a group of organizations united to ensure that working families can
get, keep, and use a reliable used car at fair terms. We are a coalition of varied organizations,
yet we all recognize the importance of a car to the success of families. Collectively and individually we
strive to improve public policy, practices, and understanding. We work in variety of areas such as:

- Improving consumer protection to stop abuses in car sales and finance and bring fairness and transparency   to the marketplace.
- Promoting non-profits that provide struggling families with cars or financing or both at subsidized rates.
- Improving data collection and analysis to better understand the benefits of and challenges to car
  ownership for working families.
Working Cars for Working Families

1.2. Driving After Spinal Cord Injury

Driving After Spinal Cord Injury: This pamphlet published by the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center describes important considerations prior to getting back to driving (such as spasticity, medications), how to determine what type of assistive technology you would need, the different types of technology, and potential funding sources. 

1.3. Vehical Accessability Consultants (VAC)

Vehical Accessibility Consultants (VAC)  Is a new free resource available to assist mobility challenged individuals choose the right mobility equipment to help them maintain their freedom and independence.  “On The Road To Mobility”, an informational podcast produced by Vehicle Accessibility Consultants, explores the many options available to mobility challenged individuals to help them stay mobile.  

VAC is an independent consulting organization providing free help to mobility challenged individuals and their families and care providers.  They can help recommend the right mobility equipment to match the specific needs and abilities of a mobility challenged person for their vehicle or home.  

The host for On The Road To Mobility, Dave John, has over 25 years of experience in the mobility industry.  He has assisted thousand of people to maintain their freedom and independence through their mobility challenges.

The On The Road To Mobility series will post a new segment every 2 weeks covering a wide variety of mobility equipment topics.  Each segment also contains an interview with  inspirational and informative people connected to the mobility industry.


1.4. Roadside Assistance-Accessible Vehicles

Mobility Roadside Assistance

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Mobility Roadside Assistance has been providing mobility roadside services to wheelchair vans since 2013. With their Adaptive plan, you are guaranteed towing service if your wheelchair van breaks down, flat tire assistance, jump start assistance, and more. The Adaptive plan provides full coverage of one wheelchair van anywhere in the United States and Canada. It also offers lift and ramp service, lockout assistance, emergency fuel as well as travel planning assistance and discounts. The Adaptive plan per year costs $289.



Offered by mobility works, their roadside assistance program is called ProtectionWorks. This program offers mobility roadside service for one wheelchair van. They will provide wheelchair passenger transport, wheelchair assistance, towing assistance, and a $150 tire hazard benefit and a $250 auto deductible reimbursement. The prices are not listed on the site. You'll have to contact them for more information.


ADA Auto Club

Since 1988, the ADA Auto Club has been providing roadside assistance for wheelchair vans. They are also one of the cheapest roadside assistance services for wheelchair vans as well. Their plans start at $165 per year. Their ADA Security Standard membership offers all of the services you would need from the emergency lift or ramp service to tire replacement. They'll also help if your wheelchair breaks down. For anyone looking for a service that has a proven track record, this is the service to choose 


It may seem unfair that mobility roadside assistance services cost more, but do not let the costs steer you away from getting the protection you deserve. If your wheelchair van does break down, having a mobility roadside assistance plan ready to go well relieve massive amounts of stress, as well as money.

1.5. United Spinal Association Webinar: Adaptive Automotive Equipment Options

Adaptive Automotive Equipment Options for People with Spinal Cord Injuries 1/24/18
This webinar highlights a range of topics pertaining to adaptive automotive equipment for personal use and information for allied health care practitioners and other stakeholders in understanding and advocating for individuals seeking automotive vehicle modification solutions. In addition, it educates consumers and caregivers about the unique process involved in evaluating and purchasing appropriate automotive options to fit specific accessibility needs. The webinar will also provide a high-level summary of available products and solutions from the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association's Quality Assurance Program for people with disabilities who want to drive or be transported safely.
View Webinar Video | View Webinar PDF | Webinar Transcript

1.6. Adaptations for Van Transfers-High Tech vs Low Tech

United Spinal Association Information Specalist, Jose, living with quadriplegia, demonstrates his high-tech van equipped with the Scott Driving System. Jose's high-tech van affords him much greater flexability for work and travel.

In this Standard van transfer video, Resource Center Director, Bill, living with paraplegia, transfers directly into the drivers seat of a non-specialised van. Then, the manual chair is pulled into the van without breaking it down. The only modification was to add right-sided mechanical hand controls to the stock vehicle.

2. Adapted vehicles

2.1. Adapting Motor Vehicles For People With Disabilities

Adapting Motor Vehicles For People With Disabilities

The information in this brochure is based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals who work with individuals who require adaptive devices for their motor vehicles. It is centered around a proven process -evaluating your needs, selecting the right vehicle, choosing a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle, being trained, maintaining your vehicle - that can help you avoid costly mistakes when purchasing and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

2.2. Adapted van classified ad websites

Adapted van classified van ad websites and other local search locations:

AMS vans classified listings

Rollx used/reconditioned adapted vans

Cars.com advanced searches: (place the word 'wheelchair' in the keyword box)

Craig's List select automobiles/trucks (for your area) and use keyword: 'wheelchair'

BLVD:  Listing 


2.3. Wheelchair Getaways-Accessible Van Rentals

Wheelchair Getaways (formerly Accessible Vans of America) is dedicated to providing quality rental vans with accessibility features. Our organization is a group of independent wheelchair van dealers who are all committed to improving the accessible transportation options for people requiring adaptive equipment for mobility. 

2.4. Adapted vehicles financing option

Our PDF Credit Applications are attached in addition to a few templates to take the customer to a specific online application.

Here is a quick summary of what we offer and where to begin:


Eligability: New Chassis/New Conversion Dodge, Chrysler, Honda & Toyota | All Used Chassis/New or Used Conversion 2003 and newer with lowered floor conversion.


No down payment requirement

No limit on mileage

Rates as low as 2.80%

Always simple interest loans with no pre-payment penalties

Terms up to 75 months


Credit application via our secure online application: BMF Quick and Secure Credit Application.

PDF Credit App. also attached, or you can use yours and Fax to my attention at (800) 768-5877 or email Sherri@BrandlMobility.com


If your customer needs to do a phone application, just send me their contact info & best time to reach them and I'll do the rest.


We can either do a sort of "Pre-Qualify" before you have your customer pick out a van, or we will need an Estimate giving the van & conversion information, pricing, and any other fees or factors (Trade-In, 3rd Party Payment, DOC or shipping fees, optional equipment, warranties or transfer fees).


In most cases, I can process your application within 24 hours. If it's a rush deal, I can do it within an hour.


If the customer is in the store, we can approve while they wait and have paperwork there the next day in most cases.


Applications submitted to and turned down with other lenders and/or bad credit, will take much more time to process since these scenarios are usually more of a "project" than a process.


We do get people into vans that are turned down by other lenders. As a general rule, if the customer has a credit score below 620, the conversion needs to be paid for in order for us to do anything.


Please call me with any additional information or questions you may have.


Thank you,



Sherri Johnson

Main: (866) 829-1900x404

Mobile: (763) 412-2591

Email: sherri@bmfinancing.com












3. Accessible Parking

3.1. United Spinal Association-Accessible Parking Guidance

United Spinal Association handicapped parking guidance-Graphic

Parking Mobility
Parking Mobility is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community education and enforcement program designed
to efficiently address accessible parking abuse in your community. As persons with a disability,
we fully appreciate the importance and impact accessible parking has on health and safety. Our
mission is to improve awareness in order to enhance access to every day life.

… dedicated to providing responsive, flexible and innovative technology to solve a global problem
with local solutions.

Mack March, Project Director
Parking Mobility Headquarters
1101 W 34th St, Suite 175
Austin, Texas 78705
Contact page
(512) 348-7775
Fax: (512) 870-9353

United State Access Board     Parking space guidance


4. Where can I purchase an accessible vehicle?

4.1. National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)

The Benefits of Purchasing from a NMEDA Member Dealer

As advocates for accessibility and leaders in the mobility industry, NMEDA member dealers strive to provide persons with disabilities with a one-stop shop for quality wheelchair adapted vehicles. Thinking about purchasing your own mobility vehicle? The following are the top five reasons to purchase from a NMEDA dealer in your area.   Click here for more details:  http://www.nmeda.com/why-nmeda/benefits/"

4.2. Used adapted vehicle sources

Selected sources for locating a used, adapted vehicle:

Wheelchair getaways vans classified listings

Rollx used/reconditioned adapted vans with limited warrenty

AMS vans classified listings

Cars.com advanced searches: (place the word 'wheelchair' in the keyword box)

Craig's List select automobiles/trucks (for your area) and use keyword: wheelchair

5. Funding for vehicles/ vehicle modifications

5.1. New Mobility Article: "Affordable Vans and Cars"

Affordable Vans and Cars

A New Mobility article published in 2014.  Provides suggestions for funding and a list of useful resources at the conclusion of the article. 

5.2. New Mobility Article: Tips for Buying a Used Wheelchair Van

Tips for Buying a Used Wheelchair Van:  This New Mobility article was published in 2018. 

5.3. Requests for Handicapped Wheelchair Vans and Vehicles - Via Online Request Form

The Special Kids Fund accepts requests for anyone in need of a handicapped adapted vehicle either for an adult or child.

6. Who can modify my vehicle?

6.1. Resources for Vehicle Modification

Looking for someone to modify your vehicle?  Check with the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association for dealers in your area that can assist you here: Consumer Resources - NMEDA.

7. Air medical transport

7.1. Air Ambulance America

Air Ambulance America 
Telephone: 1-800-827-0745 
Email: info@airambulance.net 
Website: Air Ambulance Specialist, Medical Flight Services

Their team of air ambulance transportation specialists arrange medical flights which are staffed by flight nurses and paramedics. 

7.2. Air Ambulance Specialists

American Medical Response - AMR Air Ambulance provides air ambulance services for basic and advanced life support patients.

7.3. Angel Wings For Veterans

Angel Wings for Veterans
Angel Wings for Veterans removes the barrier to medical care for Veterans, active duty service members and their families with transportation on the ground and in the air. Angel Wings for Veterans provides wounded, ill and injured veterans and active duty service members along with their families with free travel to clinical care on the ground and in the air with gas cards, bus and train tickets, general aviation flights, and commercial airline tickets. They provide transportation to clinical care and a variety of therapies. 

7.4. Angel Flight West

Angel Flight

At Angel Flight West we provide free air transportation via the kind services of our volunteer pilots. We fly patients to and from scheduled medical treatment. Patients are required to be ambulatory (able to walk and get in and out of the aircraft with little to no assistance) and be medically stable. Because our flights are free of charge financial need is verified. Other reasons for flying with us include living in a rural area isolated from any international airports or a patient being immuno-compromised due to treatment that they are undergoing. We only have resources to go no more than a 1000 nautical miles.

In addition, Angel Flight West has a partnership with Alaska Airlines to provide transportation to and from Alaska via Alaska Airlines.  They also are proud to be one of Alaska Airlines featured charities for donated miles. 

Angel Flight West covers the 13 western states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

7.5. Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic - Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic is a non-profit organization serving patients in need and their families. We provide air transport to specialized medical facilities for evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic provides medical air transport for patients departing from: District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia

Dedicated To Helping Financially Needy Patients With Free Medical Air Transportation.

7.6. Children's Angel Flight

Children's Angel Flight - Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic is a non-profit organization serving patients in need and their families. We provide air transport to specialized medical facilities for evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

The mission and purpose of Children's Angel Flight (CAF) is "...to ensure that no needy child patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation."

7.7. Corporate Angel Network

Corporate Angel Network - Organization which arranges free plane transportation for cancer patients and bone marrow donors going to and/or from recognized cancer treatment centers. Must be able to walk up the stairs of a private aircraft without assistance and require no form of medical help or life support while on board. Call with a specific date. Requests are taken up to 3 weeks in advance.

Toll Free: 800-328-4226

E-mail: info@corpangelnetwork.org

7.8. Footprints in the Sky

Footprints in the Sky  

Working with a network of approximately 3000 charter services in the United States, Footprints in the Sky provides
transportation for ambulatory patients without consideration to their medical condition.

This is accomplished by using “donated” flights from these charter companies using empty seats in a corporate or
business aircraft that is traveling to the same geographic area as the patient.

Footprints in the Sky personnel can monitor the flights of these jets and then match the patient with the charter
service and aircraft. This is done on behalf of the patient and in consultation with the patient’s physician.

For patients that require more critical care than that afforded by traveling on a corporate jet, given that we are
also a flight operation center, we can provide access to air ambulance flights and services throughout the United States.

Air ambulances are typically aircraft that have been retrofitted with stretchers and medical equipment, including
medical personnel such as EMTs and critical care nurses for example.

Cost for these services are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Medical escorts can be provided to individuals that do not require transportation but need medical assistance
enroute to their treatment destination. This is most important when a patient may need medical procedures such as
injections or oxygen during or to their destination.

Once a flight has reached its destination, regardless whether this is a donated or commercial flight, we can
arrange for ground transportation from the airport to the treatment center. The type of ground transportation is
determined by the needs of the patient which means that it can either be an ambulance, shuttle or taxi for example.

7.9. Hope Air

Hope Air - Hope Air is a registered charity who arranges free medical air transportation to Canadians who must travel to receive medical care out of area location.

Contact Information
Toll Free: 1-877-346-4673

7.10. Hospital Wing

Hospital Wing - The Wing" is a non-profit air medical transport which provides inter-hospital transfers as well as emergency scene calls within 150 mile radius of Memphis. This area includes West Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, and Kentucky.

Hospital Wing transports patients based on medical need, not membership status and transports patients to the closest, medically appropriate facility as directed by approved parties.

7.11. Mercy Medical Airlift

Mercy Medical Angels - MMA's mission is to ensure that no needy patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation; further, to ensure the provision of urgent transportation in situations of compelling human need and homeland security emergencies. All patients must be physically capable of boarding a small airplane or commercial airliner and require no medical assistance during travel.

America's Charitable Medical Transportation System. 

7.12. Miracle Flights for Kids

Miracle Flights for Kids - Miracle Flights for Kids® flies children who are struggling with serious cancers and debilitating diseases and disorders to specialized medical treatment centers throughout the United States. Any child needing medical treatment or is seeking a second opinion that is not available in their area is eligible to apply for a miracle mission.

Miracle Flights for Kids® is the nation's leading nonprofit health and welfare organization.

One of the few requirements - Patients must be able to sit upright in a commercial airline seat or in a wheelchair.

Air-ambulance transport is not availalble through Miracle Flights for Kids.

7.13. Patient Airlift Services (PALS, in Northeastern US)


Patient Airlift Services (PALS) serves the Northeastern US.

Preferred contact # is: 631-694-PALS (7257)

Patient Airlift Services covers flights in the entire northeast United States as far west as Ohio and as far south as Virginia. Typical flight times in our general aviation aircraft will range from two to three hours per leg, covering 200 to 600 miles. Flights originating or terminating beyond our primary coverage area will be conducted by our member pilots, or will be coordinated with other similar organizations to provide you with a seamless travel itinerary.

7.14. REVA

 REVA- specializes in the successful, speedy and safe transport of patients needing to be transferred home or to a more appropriate medical facility worldwide. Seamless bedside-to-bedside worldwide medical transport

From documentation to critical-care medical treatment, REVA’s service includes everything. Our state-of-the-art Communications Center specializes in assisting clients in all aspects of transport and is available 24 hours a day.